Sadly, the rhetoric of modern conservatism―focused on small government, free enterprise, and individual liberty―seems ever more divorced from its behavior. Indeed, conservatism’s rhetoric and its behavior are often quite contradictory.Contradictions can't exist. Check your premises.
Is this allegation fair? There certainly seem to be plenty of discrepancies between words and deeds, and conservatives should be asked to explain them.
Oh, it's more fun to pose a bunch of sarcastic questions so that fellow true believers can enjoy a chortle on a chilly weekend with the Jets and Giants out of the playoffs.
1. As opponents of “big government,” why do you fervently support an unending stream of government-sponsored wars, vast government military spending, the power of local police to shoot and kill unarmed citizens, government interference with abortion rights and family planning, government restrictions on marriage, and the linkage of church and state?Summarize in one sentence the distinctions between "national greatness conservatism" and "libertarian conservatism." Extra credit: is no longer spending government money on abortions or family planning, or changing the tax status of marriage or of churches, government restriction or not?
2. As advocates of “consumer sovereignty,” why do you oppose requiring corporations to label their products with information (for example, “contains GMOs”) that would enable consumers to make an intelligent choice of products?Is a mandatory content label in the prescribed form an aid to intelligent choice, or a source of confusion? Extra credit: is there any food that has not been genetically modified?
3. As advocates of personal advancement through individual effort, why do you oppose inheritance taxes that would place the children of rich and poor on a more equal footing in their struggle for personal success?Is it better that the estate be dissipated by one wastrel, or by 538? Support your reasoning.
4. As advocates of capitalist competition in the marketplace, why do you so consistently support the interests of giant corporations over those of small businesses?How well did that work out for Eric Cantor? Compare and contrast pro-market and pro-business public policies. Extra credit: what is the symbiosis between activist government and rent-seeking?
5. As advocates of the “private enterprise system,” why do you so often favor government subsidies to failing big businesses and tax breaks to thriving big businesses that you desire to lure into your state or region?In what way is question 5 any different from question 4?
6. As advocates of freedom to choose to work for an employer (“freedom of contract”), why do you oppose employees’ right to stop working for that employer―that is, to strike―and particularly to strike against the government?Complex proposition alert! Public employees engaging in rent-seeking with the connivance of Democrat politicians cannot turn out well. It gets really interesting when New York police object to the attitudes of their mayor.
7. As advocates of voluntary (rather than government) action to redress grievances, why do you so fervently oppose labor unions?Here we go again, with the pro-business as opposed to pro-market policies, although here the role of labor unions as rent-seekers matters.
8. As advocates of the free movement of labor and capital, why do you support government immigration restrictions, including the construction of enormous walls, the massive policing of borders, and the building of mass incarceration centers?More frictions within the coalition. Here the pro-business and pro-market policy might be precisely for more free movement of goods and people, and for legal status of intoxicants and narcotics. Extra credit: look for the rent seekers.
9. As critics of statism, why don’t you oppose government loyalty oaths, flag drills, and pledges of allegiance?Another fracture between the national greatness and libertarian schools of thought.
10. As advocates of “freedom,” why are you not at the forefront of the fight against government torture, political surveillance, and censorship?See above.
None of which prevents the good professor from putting on a spectacular demonstration of the Fallacy of Insufficient Alternatives.
If these contradictions can’t be explained satisfactorily, then we have good reason to conclude that the professed principles of conservatives are no more than a respectable mask behind which lurk less admirable motives ...That sort of grandstanding might have impressed self-selected young skulls full of mush in a peace studies seminar. Your students deserved better.